A Lion Named Roar might get loud.
A Lion Named Roar are ready to make a big sound. The Louisville quintet has been together for more than six years -- a seemingly Olympic-size prep time that's led to songs sounding more focused than a mid-race Ryan Lochte.
Emerging from the birthplace of groups such as My Morning Jacket and Ben Sollee, ALNR have already drawn nationwide attention: When the band went by the name Waketheday, they beat out 6,000 acts on Fox's reality competition "The Next Great American Band." Now the group's released their latest, "This Won't Last for Long," a passionate guitar anthem that'll stick in your mind like the pilot for "Lost." (Or was that just us?)
Listen to A Lion Named Roar's "This Won't Last For Long" after the jump.
Freelance Whales make full-time jams.
Freelance Whales are about to swim into your heart. The New York group got their start with a burst of blog enthusiasm, coming out on top of the Great Whale Band Flood of 2010 (Remember Or, the Whale?). Freelance Whales have been hyped by NPR, The A.V. Club, and Entertainment Weekly, who dubbed Freelance Whales' album Weathervanes "the best electronic indie-pop debut since Ben Gibbard last tuned his laptop." You've heard Freelance Whales on the MTV show The Inbetweeners, and you'll hear them again during the season finale. And the band's even been thrown some shade from the infamous tastemakers at Pitchfork, so you know they must be doing something right. Fun fact: Multi-instrumentalist Chuck Criss is the brother of "Glee"'s Darren Criss -- musical prowess must run in the fam!
On the group's sophomore set, Diluvia, the Whales combine fuzzy synths and drum thunder with twinkling acoustic arrangements, an approach that recalls the maximalist indie rock of Passion Pit or MGMT. "Aeolus" leads with a banjo-plucking melody that hints at Dave Matthews Band before going full-on M83, while "Follow Through" finds frontman Judah Dadone singing, "I am not one of them" while slow-moving drums echo meaningfully in the background. "Spitting Image" gives bassist/multi-instrumentalist Doris Cellar a solid turn on the mic, but the great thing about Freelance Whales is that the music sounds like a full-time party no matter who's on the mic.
+ Watch Freelance Whales perform "Aeolus" live, and see more interviews and performances after the jump.
Soft Swells sing one last summer anthem.
"I don't want this summer to ever end," Tim Williams sings in Soft Swells' "Summer Song." Well, if summer means jamming out on your enormous balcony by a sun-drenched Hollywood skyline, we wouldn't want it to end either. Tim probably has AC, too. Playing out like a love letter to laid-back afternoons, "Summer Song"'s video is prettier than your favorite Instagram filter: We see a lady friend in a vintage Guns N' Roses shirt (borrowed from Adam Sandler on the set of "The Wedding Singer"?!) sorting through vinyl records, reading a good book, sketching, and laying down some sweet bass lines, all without the help of socks. And then later without other apparel, though Soft Swells keep it PG. Best summer ever?
Watch Soft Swells' "Summer Song" video after the jump.
Watch Maximo Park's new video for "The Undercurrents."
In their brand-new video for "The Undercurrents," British post-punk veterans Maximo Park swap a traditional stage for a makeshift one within a Berlin tram. (Cost efficient, AND eco-friendly!) In fact, they're the latest band to get creative in an unconventional space since the rise of video series like the Take-Away Shows and Black Cab Sessions, a trend that's definitely worth cheering for -- especially when it comes to the morning commute. Step up your game, L train!
Watch Maximo Park's "The Undercurrents" video after the jump.
Dude York: Not just for dudes.
Seattle, Washington's Dude York might be the noisiest band in the Pacific Northwest -- or at least the fuzziest. But the D.I.Y. rock trio's lo-fi latest, "The Lake," sees them expanding their influences. Punchy opener "The Lake" kicks off with Ringo Starr drums before diving into a retro power-pop riff worthy of Nick Lowe or Thin Lizzy, while the incendiary "Dream King" sounds like the Strokes playing in a haunted house. Just in time for Halloween, you guys!
Listen to Dude York after the jump.
Watch Austin-based outfit Ume's new video for "Run Wild."
We just realized we've never seen a horror movie in the desert. But Ume's "Run Wild" video takes us there with a spooky goth-eyed dancer emerging from the sands and hovering like a magic carpet thanks to some tricky stop-motion photography. The Austin-based indie act's latest is way less scary, a gritty rock song that balances Paramore-y riffs against singer Lauren Larson's feather-light vocals floating over the roar. If you love it (and you will!), the band's collecting cash for its next album on Kickstarter, where the D.I.Y. trio's already raised more than $12,000. Maybe they can fund-raise for Friday the 13th: Jason Takes Joshua Tree next.
+ Watch Ume's "Run Wild" video.
Photo credit: Ume's Facebook
Cris Cab knows how to ride a groove.
The calendar says it's fall, but Miami-based musician Cris Cab seems intent on making summer last a little longer. With a voice like Sting and upbeat, beachy grooves influenced by Marvin Gaye and Bob Marley, (those childhood summers spent in the Bahamas didn't hurt either), Cris is ready to make it rain soul-n-B with songs such as "Face to Face" and "Echo Boom."
Some serious stars have also joined the Cris Cab movement: Big Sean dropped by on Chris' laid-back "Good Girls (Don't Grow on Trees)," a track produced by Wyclef Jean and written by Pharrell Williams, because why work with one all-star when you could get with three? And Cris even teamed up with Wyclef to perform at New York Fashion Week earlier this month.
Cris isn't just hanging out with the pop kids either -- he recently performed in an an indie-centric lineup including Tanlines, Action Bronson, and Spaceghostpurrp at Mad Decent's Chicago Block Party in August. Not bad for a 19-year-old who hasn't even released his debut yet -- but Cris has got a career coach in Pharrell, who told him to practice, practice, practice -- advice that paid off once Cris began releasing videos, starting with a YouTube cover of Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow." Cris has now scored nearly 8 million views on YouTube, almost as many as Justin Bieber -- juuuust 400 million or so to go. He'll get there. Cris Cab's debut EP, Rise, soars onto iTunes on Oct. 9.
+ Watch Cris Cab's performance of "Good Girls (Don't Grow On Trees)" below, and check out more Cris videos and performances after the jump.
Watch the Whigs rock out, psychedelic-style.
The Whigs' raw, rootsy rock is already larger than life, so it's understandable that the band would refrain from adding too many extras to their "Waiting" video. Frontman Parker Gispert dives into his guitar solo like Neil Young auditioning for the Who, while his bandmates deliver a barely restrained rhythm section. The black-and-white footage offers some double exposure shots that recall the psychedelic '60s, but the band's meaty performance tastes great under or over the influence. The Whigs' fourth album, Enjoy the Company, dropped last week.
+ Watch The Whigs' "Waiting" video.
Photo credit: Joshua Black Wilkins/Big Hassle
Get bratty with "X Factor" superstar Cher Lloyd.
Meet pop music's favorite new brat. Cher Lloyd first turned heads on the U.K. version of "The X Factor," where notorious grumpster Simon Cowell called her performance of Shakespeare's Sister's "Stay" "the performance of the entire season" -- and it was the first song she didn't rap on. (Because did we mention she can rap? Because she can.)
Cher blends electro, hip-hop, and pop influences into a genre-bending mix, all delivered with a wink. Think Lily Allen meets Nicki Minaj. "You're a hater, just let it go," she sings on inspirational kiss-off "Swagger Jagger," while "Want U Back" firehoses an ex-boyfriend ("You never had much game") and his new girlfriend, before admitting she might be jealous.
The pop misfit just made Billboard's "21 Under 21" list, performed on the "Today" show, and already dropped her first perfume, "Pink Diamond" -- not bad for a 19-year-old. Cher's debut album, Sticks + Stones, drops in the U.S. on Oct. 2, yet she's already locked in die-hard fans, who call themselves "The Brats."
"I've never met such passionate people in my life," Lloyd says. "Whenever I go into an event, I know they've got my back. It's all about having the girl power." And all about dropping her "Want U Back" signature grunt, though Lloyd says getting growly isn't easy. "I did it in the studio, and I was actually angry at that point. But I don't do it when I'm on stage," she says. "I don't want someone to take a snapshot of that." Get your Rick Ross on, li'l mama. UGH! (Do I sound like a helicopter?)
+ Download Cher Lloyd's "Dub On The Track," watch her perform "Want U Back" below, and check out more videos and interviews with her after the jump.
30 Seconds to Mars is heading to the dance floor.
You know 30 Seconds to Mars can rock -- but can they dance? For their first foray into the clurb, the group didn't outsource "Night of the Hunter" to a top DJ. Instead, 30 Seconds to Mars drummer Shannon Leto himself remixed the track. "I really wanted to reinvent it, to shed a different light on it by bringing a dance element to it," he explained. And that's precisely what happened.
Listen to 30 Seconds to Mars' "Night Of The Hunter" remix after the jump.